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What has prompted Brazil, like most of Latin America, to move away from neo-liberalism?
Why do the U.S. mainstream media and the Bush Administration view this political shift with suspicion?
Why is such a posture to the changes taking place in Brazil and the rest of the region a mistake?
In the 1980s and 1990s, neo-liberal macro-economic policies were enthusiastically embraced in Latin America. In recent years Brazil, much like the rest of Latin America, has decidedly rejected the ideas that free trade and market mechanisms alone will enable countries to achieve developed nation status. The rejection of the Washington Consensus has been viewed with suspicion, if not derision, by the mainstream US press and the Bush Administration. This perspective represents a misunderstanding of what is occurring and what is at stake in the region. If Brazil is to ever build a developed economy, it has to address its profound social inequalities. Market mechanisms by themselves have proven ineffective in undoing these disparities. Hence the question that the region is now wrestling with is how and to what degree state activism should be involved in development projects.